Jeremy Corbyn has suggested the Queen or her advisers should apologise for investing in offshore funds.
The Duchy of Lancaster, the private estate of the Queen, was found to have millions of pounds invested in offshore arrangements.
Around £10m from the Queen’s private fund was paid into funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda between 2004 and 2005, according to the so-called Paradise Papers leak.
Corbyn suggested the Queen’s finances should fall within the scope of an investigation into the leak.
Asked on Monday if the Queen should apologise, Corbyn said:
“Anyone that is putting money into tax havens in order to avoid taxation in Britain, and obviously investigations have to take place, should do two things: not just apologise for it but also recognise what it does to our society.
“If a very wealthy person wants to avoid taxation in Britain and therefore put money into a tax haven somewhere, who loses? Schools, hospitals, housing, all those public services lose and the rest of the population have to pay to cover up the deficit created by that.”
A spokesman for the Labour leader said Corbyn did not mean the Queen should say sorry herself.
“Jeremy did not call for the Queen to apologise, but said anyone who puts money into a tax haven to avoid paying tax should, and that they should recognise the damage done by avoidance to society,” the spokesman said.
Later he told Bloomberg TV there should be “an inquiry into all the revelations about the Paradise Papers”.
Asked if that included the Queen, Mr Corbyn replied: “Everybody. The Royal Household are subject to taxation. I don’t know what has happened in that case. These issues all must be part of that.”
Jeremy Corbyn asked if the Queen should apologise
Corbyn added the revelations in the Paradise Paper leak were “shocking” and the idea there was “something clever about avoiding taxation” had to be challenged.
A small amount of the Queen’s money was also traced to a lender which has previously been criticised for ripping off poor customers.
The Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy.
A spokesman for the estate said: “We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds. All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate.”
Labour MP Ronnie Campbell told HuffPost UK: “Queen or no queen she should be aware of where her money is being put and if her advisers are not telling her where it has been put she should sack them.”
The offshore activity is not illegal. But Labour has demanded a public inquiry into tax avoidance to restore public confidence in the tax system.
Two offshore service providers are said to be the source of the material, along with the company registries of 19 tax havens.
Millions of the files come from a single company, Appleby, which offers offshore legal services. Appleby has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the findings from the documents.
Among those named in the papers are former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft and US president Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, who is reportedly linked to a Russian firm.